They have one of the program's greatest leaders in quarterback Kirk Cousins. They have the all-time leading receiver in B.J. Cunningham. They have a determined coach in his prime, the Big Ten's best defense and stirring victories over key rivals.
The Spartans don't quite have it all, but this is as close as they've been in a long time. The next step isn't the last step, only the biggest one, as Michigan State faces Wisconsin tonight in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game, a hotly anticipated rematch of their earlier thriller.